#Writing #MusicMonday: Celestia by Jaime Heras

celestiaThis album should have been posted on 18 July 2016.

“Music for watching the skies” the download page says, and if you’re of my generation, at least, that is correct. Celestia by Jaime Heras is more Vangelis-inspired, Carl Sagan’s Cosmos-type music, and very well done, as is all of Heras’s work.

The sense of wonder and discovery is palpable, and the album makes a wonderful companion for the earlier one I shared, Siderea.

Download Celestia by Jaime Heras free from the Internet Archive.


Creative Commons License
Celestia/span> by Jaime Heras is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

#Writing #MusicMonday: El Ultimo Peldano by Jaime Heras

UltimoPeldanoCoverContinuing my revisitation with the works of the now-retired Jaime Heras, I bring you El Último Peldaño.

As Heras explains, there are three original tracks, and the rest are remixes and reworkings of his early works, including pieces from the first WMM album of his I shared, Life in Bitville, which remains a personal favorite of mine.

This album, while having several pieces from Bitville, isn’t purely electronica. It wanders much farther afield than that. And while it has less thematic unity, the wandering also gives it a much wider scope.

You can read his own take on how the album came to be on the Archive page (scroll past the Spanish version to get the English), but in summary, Heras was asked to compose a few short pieces for a radio program called “El Ultimo Peldaño”, did so, then decided that they were strong enough to go longer than 20 or 30 seconds. So he extended those. In addition, the radio show used a lot of his older music, which he found gratifying but, like any artist anywhere, he began to feel they could be improved. So he did remixes and upgrades on those.

Thus, this new hour and nine minutes of quite excellent music.

Download El Último Peldaño free from the Internet Archive.


Creative Commons License
El Último Peldaño by Jaime Heras is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

#Writing #MusicMonday: Siderea by Jaime Heras

SidereaCoverSqTaking a break from jazz, we get a second album from Jaime Heras (the first was the excellent Life in Bitville in 2013), and I confess to feeling a bit of regret.

Siderea is a wonderful piece of Vangelis– and Tangerine Dream–influenced synth work, the kind of music that used to denote The Future and Life In Space.

Though only three tracks, the album clocks in at just over forty-eight minutes, so it’s more like an electronic symphony than anything else. And a very satisfying one, at that.

As to the regret, I had not realized until just recently that Jaime Heras has stopped making music. He’s still alive and kicking, but apparently got too little return on his investment of time in making his usually-excellent works. And I feel a bit bad for not pushing his work more. Not that my promotion would have made much difference to his livelihood (or any difference at all, really), but since I only featured the one album while he was still producing new work, it feels like I might have done more.

(My only excuses are that he didn’t release under Free Culture licenses, which I focused on those exclusively last year, and that one of his albums didn’t click with me, for reasons mostly unrelated to the music. Well, those two plus I try to cast as wide a net as possible and share as many different artists as possible. But I still could have shared more.)

But back to Siderea. It’s a wonderful piece of work, and I might say it was perfect, but I don’t, for the sole reason that Life In Bitville was just that tiny little bit better. But it is a totally satisfying listening experience, top to bottom. The kind that you might be glad to have the FLAC files, so that you can make an actual CD of it.

Download Siderea free from the Internet Archive.


Creative Commons License
Siderea by Jaime Heras is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

#Writing #Music Monday: On A Beam Of Light by Stellardrone

On A Beam Of Light coverI’ve shared two Stellardrone albums previously, but I have to confess: there are days, sometimes weeks, when I simply queue up a playlist of every single thing he’s released, put it on repeat, and let that be my writing/working soundtrack for the day.

So today, we go back to his first album, On A Beam Of Light.

In one of the two posts where I’ve dealt with Stellardrone before, I suggested that his earlier work was less melodic and more drone-y than his most recent two albums.

That was unfair. His more recent work is sharper, and manages more complicated build-ups both in individual tracks and album wide, but he was, as this album amply shows, melodic from the get-go.

The Vangelis influence is just as obvious as in any one of his other works, and again that is no bad thing.

This is music of wonder and exploration, that will put anyone my age in mind of Carl Sagan’s Cosmos series. (We will not talk of the travesty of whatshisface’s “update” series of the same name, nor of the horrific musical choices it made.) It is perfect for firing the imagination and exploring unknown worlds.

You can download On A Beam Of Light by Stellardrone free from Jamendo, or free from the Internet Archive, or you can name your own price (including free) and get it through BandCamp while sending money Stellardrone’s way.


Creative Commons License
On A Beam Of Light by Stellardrone is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

Yes, different licenses are listed on the Archive and Jamendo. But this comes from Stellardrone’s own website:

Once Stellardrone publishes his tracks on the Internet he waives all the rights to them and only kindly asks for attribution. Any person or organization is free to use any track of his on any kind of project (commercial, independent etc.), including selling, remixing and distribution of music.

stellardrone/use of music

#Writing #Music Monday: Supernova by Adam Certamen Bownik

CoverYes, I’ve been slacking. I may continue, hard to tell.

For today, however, here is fifty minutes of techno-synth music to explore. A lot of it sounds like it could be disco orchestra stuff from the late ’70s — but I mean that in a good way, for once.

Adam Certamen Bownik appears to be a very interesting man. On top of his music — he has produced 64 solo albums in 16 years (!) — he is an adjunct professor in the department of Physiology and Toxicology at the University of Lublin, Poland. (One almost wonders if he hunts dinosaurs or builds time machines in his spare time.)

Supernova consists of three lengthy tracks, two of about fifteen minutes, one clocking in at twenty, and they’re entirely engaging from beginning to end. It’s almost a synth symphony, with some vocalizing (not too much) throughout. In fact, it is another example I would point to of “this is a way music should have gone”, taking off from Vangelis and other synth artists of the ’70s and ’80s.

Possibly one of the reasons I am so taken with this album are his two rules:

There are 2 main rules I obey in composing. 1. The patch should be of original sound not copied from the best [Tangerine Dream] albums ;). Synthesizers are instruments of a great variety of sounds to obtain so I have no reason to play with sounds that are indeed great but well known. 2. Apart from a good synth patch a melody line must be included in the composition. Some moments without melody could be be beneficial or even required but should not be the essential part of a composition.

That works for me, it works very well.

Supernova is available for free download from Jamendo.


Supernova by Adam Certamen Bownik is released under a Free Art License 1.3 (FAL 1.3), also known as a Libre Art License (LAL).

This license is compatible with the Creative Commons Attribution–Share-Alike 4.0 International (CC BY-SA 4.0) license.

Writing Music Monday: Echoes by Stellardrone

Echoes CoverI’ve only posted one album by Stellardrone, and that was more than a year ago. This is not a comment on his quality, but rather on my dependence on mood. Stellardrone is very good, but I’m very often not in the mood for his sort of sonic wallpaper.

Well, I’m back in the mood, it would seem, and since he hasn’t released a new full album since the last one I linked, I went one back.

Stellardrone released Echoes in 2012, and it’s an interesting bridge between his older works and 2013’s Light Years. The older works tend to be less melodic, more of a drone (per his name), and that’s the part of his musical sensibility that I just don’t care for. But with this album (and more so in the more recent one) he began experimenting with build ups and releases that sound more melodic to me, and if not, certainly shift the listener’s mood more successfully than the more neutral sounds he was creating before.

You can download Echoes by Stellardrone from Bandcamp in almost any audio format you want, as well as send money his way (or for free). You can also get it from Jamendo.


Creative Commons License
Echoes by Stellardrone is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

Writing Music Monday: Impact Valentine by Lobo Loco (WMM Edition)

CoverHere’s where you can see a small benefit of the Creative Commons. I’ve had this album on my android forever. Every now and then, I go back to it, and begin with the thought “This is great! Why haven’t I put this up on the blog yet?”

And then one of the vocal tracks plays.

And then I don’t try listening to the album again for months and months.

I won’t get into whether the vocals are good or bad, but they yank me right out of the mood the instrumentals put me into, every single time. This, for a collection of music to write to, is Not A Good Thing.

So I have taken advantage of the Attribution-Share Alike license and “remixed” the album — if by remix you understand me to mean that I just dropped the vocal tracks entirely and let it go at that.

This is “modern” jazz in the sense that it’s the sort of thing that I usually do not enjoy, much like last week’s album. And much like last week’s album, this is a strong exception to the rule. I really enjoy these tracks, having them in the background while I’m writing or outlining or just thinking through structural problems with a story. It works for me, in some way I can’t explain, or differentiate from other albums in similar style.

Lobo Loco appears to be a German individual (go figure, again), and has contributed quite a lot of music to the Free Culture movement. His musical and melodic sense, in the instrumentals I’ve listened to, are quite good. His vocals, alas, are not for me. Even so, what he has contributed is good stuff, and all licensed to be used just as you see fit.

You can download Impact Valentine (WMM Edition) from either the Internet Archive or from this playlist page at Jamendo.


Creative Commons License
Impact Valentine (WMM Edition) by Lobo Loco is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at http://www.jamendo.com/en/list/a120046/impact-valentine.